Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe Lecture

Menakka and Essel Bailey

Menakka and Essel Bailey

The Weerasinghe Lecture is named for Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe, who worked throughout her life to promote international understanding and communication. Weerasinghe was a representative from 1956-1965 at the United Nations for the World Federation of the United Nations Association in New York where she traveled and spoke widely on behalf of the UN Association. She had a weekly children’s radio program, “Tales from the East” in New York that resulted in the production by UNESCO of seven records for children about the music and culture of non-western countries. She has published several books for children, was an active member of Women Geographers in Washington, and served on several not-for-profit boards in Sri Lanka where she resided until her passing in 2018. The lectureship brings speakers on international subjects to CEW+ in collaboration with other units.

CEW+ thanks Emerita Leadership Council Member Menakka Bailey for making this fund possible in honor of her mother, Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe, a lifelong advocate of cross-cultural dialogue and advancement for women.

Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe

Christobel Kotelawela Weerasinghe

Menakka and Essel Bailey









Past Lecture Speakers




CEW+ Advocacy Symposium

  • Wai Wai Nu, International Award-Winning Human Rights Activist


CEW Presents Test Screening of Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist Sophia Kruz Documentary, “Little Stones”

  • Sophia Kruz, Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, 2015-2016 U-M CEW Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist
  • Meena Singh, Cinematographer, and Co-Producer


Women and Economic Security: Changing Policy and Practice

  • Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize-winning co-author


“Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women”

  • Nicholas D. Kristof, Author, Pulitzer Prize winner, Columnist


Our So-Called Histories

  • Coral Jacobson, U-M School of Art and Design

The Young and the Restless

  • Marie Hawkins, Women in the Director’s Chair